Upcoming Shows

Blues Great Chris Duarte on Live From Music City!


Blues Great and underground guitar legend Chris Duarte will be on Live From Music City on May 19th with a live interview, 3 song full band performance and a meet and greet to start 6:30pm.

Date: May 19th, 8:00pm Meet & Greet

Location: Bitchstraps Studio, 172 2nd Ave. S., 3rd Floor, Nashville, TN 37201

For more information please contact Live From Music City through this site.



An artist’s lifetime is sometimes dictated by the heights they reach, the reaction they register or the body of work compiled during their working years. Chris Duarte is certainly making a case for his body of work he’s producing, this being number eleven of releases, but is he achieving the right reaction for his efforts? With the release of Chris Duarte’s latest opus, ‘My Soul Alone’, Chris Duarte is still reaching for new ground while also throwing out some of his best blues work to date. The maturity in the phrasing and melodic statements are a far cry from the early raw days of his first few releases. This could only be achieved through relentless roadwork that allows Chris to ply his trade and to work and rework melodic ideas. “I can practice all day in my basement but it’s a totally different ballgame when I get on stage. More of a physical dynamic is the currency I trade in when I’m playing live.” Even though Chris is in the studio, I can hear him getting more physical while there.

The album starts off with a swinging type of blues with a vocal more akin to 40’s big band style. The rough and course voice is still there rather than a crooner’s touch but he’s swinging the lines. The guitar solos are full bodied with just a touch of frenetic moments that Chris is known for. ‘Show Me That You Want It’ sets a good tone for the opening salvo.

Next up is another example of Chris taking clues from his early years growing up and mixing it with these pseudo county leanings on the guitar. ‘Yes It’s You’ is a nod towards the Beatles and other ‘Pop’ efforts Chris has been penning and with each release I can hear the improvement. Time will only tell if this song is a winner but it makes me hopeful that one day that hit will come. It will be long overdue.

‘Take Me Now’ is more of the ‘naff’ pop Chris is exploring like his previous release of ‘Summer’s Child’. “I keep hearing these retro-like grooves with a Steely Dan like vocal line over it. I’m probably going to go to my grave taking chances like this song.” Jazzy guitar work over a bluesy mode wins out on this song. This one always perks my ears up for new things every time I hear it.

Almost every album that Chris has put out with Mike Varney, there’s always been a minor blues and a slow major blues on the album. Normally I would really grow tired of the repetition but Chris challenges himself to tweak and twist the songs arrangement so that no two are going to sound like the last. His latest minor offering, “A Dollar Down and Feeling Low’, stays low and evocative with what I think is his best minor work to date. The phrasing is more moving and flowing with its subtle nuances achingly played. Chris’s touch on the guitar is definitely much improved and the notes actually touch the inner core. Then on the flip-side there’s ‘Lazy Afternoon’ with its true reach at a crooner standard style. The lyrics are lyrical and time dated and the guitar work is first rate jazzy with a touch of BB here and there. If we were to stop here with the album I would consider it a success.

We can’t deny Hendrix is a big muse for Chris and it’s plainly stated in this album. ‘Outta My Way’ is a spot on Hendrixian nod but obviously with Chris’s style thrown in the mix. Starting off with a hard driving riff but then it opens up with the patented Hendrix 7th chord accents that propel this rocket of a song on its way. The guitar accents are vocal like and at times a frenzy. The quirky lead in to the middle solo is typical of the twists and turns for originality and lends to it that ‘turn-on-a-dime’ wildness that should be present in songs like this; Hendrixian. The next Jimi offering is ‘Can’t Shut Me Out’. First the riff at the top and in comes the effects drenched guitar. With an almost vocal like quality to the guitar the phrasing is no doubt from Jimi and the driving rhythm underneath enables all the elements to come together when the vocals start. The interlude at the top of the chorus is the only departure from the Hendrix mode but it plays well with the chorus hook shouted out. Another adrenalin driving guitar vehicle and I wouldn’t expect anything less on this album. This is the CDG we’ve come to know and love.

Jumping back on the blues side of the album, because if there’s one thing that put Chris Duarte on the international stage; it is his blues playing. ‘Being known and referred to as a blues player is not a hindrance to me. If there’s anything that makes it easier for people to relate to me or if it’s easier to gain access to me than it’s all for the better’, Chris remarks. “I don’t shrink behind it or cringe from it because I love playing the blues.” I agree. It’s Chris’s prowess and originality in the blues field that has always made him an interest to me. So when I heard ‘Sweet Little Girl’ I knew Chris was drawing from one of his favorite blues masters; Howling Wolf. Back in the day when Chris was just a sideman in Bobby Mack and Night Train, Howling for My Darling was in every day rotation with the band when they played. It’s no surprise that the infectious rhythm and drive the song has would be inspiration down the years in his career. Written for his daughter, the vocal phrasing isn’t the same as Wolf but the ‘sweet’ sentiments he gives to his little girl is heartwarming. Then Chris quickly takes over when the solo romps and rolls along this jumping number. “Keeping this rhythm going isn’t as easy as it sounds” quips Duarte, “You always find out your studio limitations when you’ve got to track your rhythm tracks.” On the heels of Sweet Little Girl you’ve also got the Party swing song, ‘Bucked It Up’. “The male anthem for some of us” as Duarte claims as he has not been without his foibles in life. Why not poke fun with it and put your troubles in song. This song is just classic with the Hubert Summlin like tone on the lead and the rhythm guitar borrowing from piano phrasing and horn section kicks on the chorus. Later the solo tone turns towards a Buddy Guy styling and this party just rocks and rolls. Not to be forgotten is the ‘Stripper’ like tom-tom beats on the verses. Really like this song.

The title cut, ‘Leave My Soul Alone’ is Chris giving a nod towards the Black Keys. “I was first exposed to those guys when I did the Romp album.” “Our producer at the time, Dennis Herring, brought that song in, the Romp that is, and it was the Black Keys version of it.” It definitely has that stripped down sound with the classic vocal and guitar unison lines in it. With the verse rolling along like a tire with a bump on it, the song then blows wide open with the chorus and a rock and roll scream to “Leave My Soul Alone!” The guitars thicken up and the drums pound out the booms and the solo is an all-out assault on the instrument itself. Bending and twisting through sonic blasts and high vertical bends it settles back for another verse and then blows up again. Emotionally stirring this song deserves to be the title cut for its shear ferocity that it wields.

The last two cuts are more experimental and artistic reaches. “I just wanted to tell a story in one of the songs and this western motif I settled on was a lot of fun.” Telling the story of a young man that takes up and life of crime to feed his family is scattered among this country’s western lore. “I just wish I could write like Dylan” The guitar is playing this almost hypnotic folk type melody and the solo comes in mirroring the vocal line and then soaring on high as if it’s flying in the vast open Big Sky of the Midwestern plains. This song kind of hung with me after it was over. Then we have the most different of all the songs; Carelessness. “This is the name of a lodge that I met the violin player at during a jam we did in Northern California; Careless. The first song we jammed on was Freedom Jazz Dance and it was a blast.” Then when Mike Varney thought the collaboration between the two; violin and guitar, could yield some potential fireworks, Mike wanted to get Madz Tolling on one song with the upcoming album. So it was up to Chris to write one for the occasion and with that he drew on their first time together as inspiration. “Since it was Freedom Jazz Dance that brought us together then why not come up with a melody that’s angular and quirky like Jazz Dance.” Add a bit more spice with the solo section being in 7/8 time and then give a nod to one of Chris’s favorites John McGlaughlin and you’ve got the vehicle for a fusion tour de force. Madz violin just soars throughout the song with the agility and ease of a master conjuring up the voice of Jean Luc Ponty. Chris then answers in his unbounded energetic style that you can’t help but bop your head and smile while the drums lay down a furious barrage and the bass acts as the glue that brings it all together. One of the most adventurous songs Chris has put down so far in his career. I hope there are more like this one in the future

My opinion is that this is a level up in Chris’s all around skills. His songwriting is getting better, vocals phrasing and lyrics are better and his tone is still a marvel at how dexterous he can be with the varying styles he continues to display time and time again. Watching Chris grow has not been meteoric but it’s been steady and he’s still getting better on the guitar. In a time when most of our legends have been content to rest on their laurels and continue to mine familiar ground, it’s both a pleasure and refreshing to see that Chris always wants to expand and grow even after over 20 years of being on the road. Not many have the energy in them to do that and not many have the soul to pull it off.

For more info about Chris Duarte please visit: http://www.thechrisduartegroup.com/home.html

Guitar Instrumentalist and Instructor David Brewster Joins Live From Music City Coming Up in April.


David Brewster is an honors graduate from the Atlanta Institute of Music, where he studied music performance and education as a Guitar Major.
While at Atlanta he had the opportunity to study with visiting artists such as Scott Henderson, Paul Gilbert, Shawn Lane, and Andy Timmons, and attended concerts by inspiring artists such as Danny Gatton, Dream Theater, Van Halen, Toto, and Steve Vai.

He also studied classical guitar from Renato Butturi at the University of Evansville.

A performing and touring musician since the age of 15, David has shared the stage with artists ranging from Blue Oyster Cult, Triumph, Nazareth, Quiet Riot, and Cheap Trick to Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Gary Allan, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and many more.

David’s taste and education in music is wide-ranging and diverse, as he has learned, performed, taught, and recorded various styles of music including rock, metal, blues, jazz, pop, classical, funk, alternative, country, reggae, experimental fusion, and acoustic guitar music. 

On February 15, 2013 he released his new album Cosmic Mind – an instrumental music tribute to HP Lovecraft.

In 2011 he released his third instrumental album – a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe entitled The Raven.

In 2009, he released his second instrumental album – the electric and horror-themed The Outer Sanctum.

In 2004, he released his first instrumental album – the ambient and all-acoustic effort Vertigo.

David has taught guitar professionally since the age of 17 in Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida, mentoring hundreds of students. He also taught guitar classes for The National Guitar Workshop (NGW) and Ivy Tech Community College.

He has seven books published and distributed worldwide with Hal Leonard, Cherry Lane, and Centerstream Publications.  A few titles include Introduction to Guitar Tone and Effects, The Stylistic History of Heavy Metal Guitar, Harmonics for Guitar, and Muting the Guitar.

In addition to his published books, he was a writer for TheMusicEdge.com (NAMM) where he had the opportunity to interview Joe Satriani, Shinedown, Sevendust, Jada Pinkett Smith, and others.

He has a feature article in the February 2013 issue of Premier Guitar magazine, and a feature lesson in the August 2009 issue.

David’s love for music and musical education runs deep, and he looks forward to creating new music, books, lessons, and videos for himself and for you.  He hopes that you are entertained, educated, and musically inspired when spending time at this website, and invites you to check back soon – this website will be updated frequently. 


Gretchen Menn Joins Live From Music City!


Photo: Mark Manion


Apart from demolishing her mother’s violin with Pete Townshend-like vehemence at age three, Gretchen’s passion for all things guitar didn’t fully surface until her early teenage years. It was under the tutelage of classical guitarist Phillip de Fremery, a student of Andrés Segovia, that Gretchen began her path on the instrument. Her father, noted writer and former editor-in-chief of Guitar Player Magazine, Don Menn, was quick to point her in the direction of the greats as soon as she expressed interest in guitar.

While earning a degree in music at Smith College, Gretchen’s adventurous approach to her education would foreshadow her approach to the guitar. She convinced a professor to allow her to launch a special studies project on the intricate and unclassifiable music of Frank Zappa. Her analyses of “The Sheik Yerbouti Tango” and “The Girl in the Magnesium Dress” showed a love for epic, melodic, genre-shattering rock and roll composition that would manifest later in her original instrumentals.

After college, Gretchen began heavily incorporating her love of rock guitar into her daily regime, the only hitch being that the music of her rock gods, Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, and Frank Zappa, wasn’t exactly Guitar 101. She also began considering her career path, and how she might prevent a situation she sought to avoid: tainting her love of music with the necessity of paying rent.

The solution? She went directly from college to flight school, and two years later was flying regional jets for the airlines. Yet Gretchen was never without her guitar.

After a year in the jet, with the life of an airline pilot being more than a little incompatible with a career in music, Gretchen relinquished her position with the airlines, knowing that there was a pilot out there somewhere who would appreciate the opportunity. She decided to take a more direct approach to realizing her musical dreams.

Playing with tireless passion and constantly seeking out new challenges, Gretchen’s projects have spanned the genres of jazz, funk, rock, progressive, and metal. In 2003, she donned a schoolboy uniform and joined AC/DShe as “Agnes Young.” In 2005, she joined forces with drummer, Clementine, to form Zepparella, currently with singer Noelle Doughty and bassist Angeline Saris. In 2007, Gretchen formed Sticks and Stones, the high-energy, instrumental “bassless power trio” with guitarist Mickael Tremel and drummer Sam Adato. In 2010, she played in Lapdance Armageddon, an aggressive acoustic duo with Jude Gold. In 2011 she wrote, produced, and recorded her first solo album, Hale Souls, which features bassist Stu Hamm, drummer John Mader, violinist Emily Palen, and guest artists Angeline Saris (bass on “Scrap Metal”), Jude Gold (second acoustic guitar on “Fast Crowd”), and Gretchen’s sister, Kirsten Menn (soprano on “Fading.”) Gretchen’s solo project, a trio with Angeline Saris on bass and Thomas Perry on drums, played their first shows in November of 2011, and will be starting to tour more in 2012.



Hale Souls (Mach Zero Records, 2011)


Lapdance Armageddon (self-released, 2010)


Conversation with Francis Bakin (self-released, 2009)


Unbreakable Strings (self-released, 2007)


The House of More (self-released, 2006)


Live at 19 Broadway (Bonny Boy Records, 2005)

A Pleasing Pounding (What Are Records?, 2008)


Night Ranger/Trans-Siberian Orchestra Guitarist Joel Hoekstra Joins Us On Live From Music City!


New York guitarist Joel Hoekstra plays for Night Ranger, the Broadway hit ‘Rock of Ages’ and Trans Siberian Orchestra. Most recently, Joel can be heard on Night Ranger’s new release ’24 Strings & a Drummer (live & acoustic), Jack Blades’ new cd ‘Rock ‘n Roll Ride’, Trans Siberian Orchestra’s new cd ‘Dreams of Fireflies (On a Christmas Night) and Jeff Scott Soto’s release ‘Damage Control’. In 2011, he had the pleasure of filling in for Mick Jones of Foreigner. Joel’s cd’s ‘undefined’, ‘The Moon is Falling’ and ’13 acoustic songs’ have found a strong cult following and critical acclaim. Keep an eye out for Joel in the Warner Bros. movie ‘Rock of Ages’!

Joel has worked on/with the following….


Night Ranger

Trans Siberian Orchestra


The Turtles

Big Brother and the Holding Company

Scrap Metal

Dee Snider

Jeff Scott Soto

Eric Martin (Mr Big)

Alan Parsons

Rik Emmett (Triumph)

Tommy Shaw (Styx)

Robin Zander (Cheap Trick)

Wyclef Jean

John Waite

Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls)

Beth Hart

Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow, Deep Purple)

Ted Nugent

Sebastian Bach

Donnie & Johnny Van Zant

Don Barnes (38 Special)

Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon)

Gunnar and Matthew Nelson (Nelson)

Mike Reno (Loverboy)

Jimi Jamison (Survivor)

David Pack (Ambrosia)

Martha Davis (The Motels)

Mickey Thomas (Starship)

Constantine Maroulis (American Idol)

Dave Bickler (Survivor)

Mark Slaughter (Slaughter)

Hugh Jackman

Nuno Bettencourt

Chan Marshall (Kat Power)

Henry Paul (The Outlaws, Blackhawk)

Ray Parker Jr.

Debbie Gibson

Jim Peterik (Ides of March, Survivor)

Tom Keifer (Cinderella)

Kip Winger


Rock of Ages (Broadway, off-Broadway)

Love, Janis (New York, San Francisco, Phoenix, Cleveland, Louisville, Cincinnati, Tucson, Sag Harbor)

The Boy From Oz (Broadway)

Tarzan (Broadway)

La Cage Aux Folles (Broadway)

It Ain’t Nothin But the Blues (Tucson, Phoenix, Kansas City, Seattle, Chicago*)

A Chorus Line (Broadway Cast Recording 2006)

Lovely Day (off-Broadway)

* nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for ‘Best Musical Direction’


The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno

America’s Got Talent

Celebrity Apprentice

Late Night with Conan O’Brien

Bachelor Pad

Last Call with Carson Daly

Live with Regis and Kelly

Tony Awards (2009)

Visa Signature Tony Preview Concert

The Sandra Bernhard Experience (A&E)

M3 Festival (HDNet)

Imus in the Morning (Fox Business)

20/20 (ABC)

Nick Cannon (Nickolodeon)

Rock Star Kitchen (Comcast/NBC)

FOX Morning news (New York, Chicago, Tucson, Kansas City, Atlanta, Louisville, Cincinnati)

WGN Morning News (Chicago)

ABC’s View From the Bay (San Francisco)

The Loose Leaf Report (LA)

WB Morning News (New York)

The New York Today Show

ABC’s New Years Eve Countdown (Chicago)

NBC “Good Company” (Cleveland)

UPN: Live at the Taste (Chicago)

I-90 North (Chicago)

NBC Morning News (Louisville)

Barry Z Show (New York)

Guitar Talk (Chicago)

NBC’s ‘The Bay Area Today’ (San Francisco)

NBC’s ‘Arizona Midday’



Rock of Ages (the movie)

Resurrection Mary

The Last Winter

May the Best Man Win


Played the national anthem for a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden

Guitar Player magazine feature (May ’09 issue)

Guitar World magazine feature (30th anniversary issue-Fall ’09)

Guitar Player magazine article (May ’11 issue)

Guitar World Playlist article (November ’11 issue)

Jeff Scott Soto video – Look Inside You Heart

Dee Snider video – Mack the Knife


Gibson guitars

Suhr amps & guitars

EVH amps

Taylor acoustic guitars

DBZ guitars

Atomic guitars

Nady wireless systems

Ernie Ball strings

Monster Cable

Big Bends Nut Sauce

Seymour Duncan pick-ups

Schecter guitars

Star Access picks

Fernandes Sustainers

Mono Cases

Fractal Audio Systems

Head straps

Morpheus Drop Tune pedal

Tech 21 midi pedals

G7 Capos


Live From Music City Special on Endorsement Deals on May 8th, 2012 with Debra Muller of Fuchs Audio and Kevin Bebout

“Live From Music City,” a weekly radio show that airs on Tuesday nights at 8:00 pm CST on blog talk radio (www.blogtalkradio.com/live-from-music-city), welcomes A/R representatives Debra Muller of Fuchs Audio (www.fuchsaudio.com) and Kevin Bebout who will share about to approach companies about getting an endorsement deal. The stuff you need to know as an independent musician only on “Live From Music City.”